p.7e The Tower of confusion, Heiser’s 70 gods over the nations

We continue with Heiser’s interpretation of Genesis where he states, “Deuteronomy 32:8–9 describes how Yahweh’s dispersal of the nations at Babel resulted in his disinheriting those nations as his people. This is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 1:18–25, a familiar passage wherein God “gave [humankind] over” to their persistent rebellion. The statement in Deuteronomy 32:9 that “the LORD’s [i.e., Yahweh’s] portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage” tips us off that a contrast in affection and ownership is intended. Yahweh in effect decided that the people of the world’s nations were no longer going to be in relationship to him. He would begin anew. He would enter into covenant relationship with a new people that did not yet exist: Israel .” (Unseen Realm)

It may appear that Heiser believes what the Bible teaches on this, however he further states, “When Yahweh disinherited the nations and allotted them to the sons of God, a theological gauntlet was thrown down: Yahweh alone commands the nations and their gods. Other gods serve him.” (Unseen Realm)

These other gods he defines as sons of God (plural), Elohim that he claims God made before creation. That they serve him, which we will see by his own standard is not correct.

“The God of the Old Testament was part of an assembly – a pantheon – of other gods “ (p. 11 Heiser, The Unseen Realm). He also says, “Simply stated, these passages assert that there is no other Deity besides Yahweh. He is the only true God.” (Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God p.69)

This statement shows the flaw of his whole theory (yes just like Darwin’s evolution). If God is the head of a pantheon, are these other gods true or false Gods? They were true Gods (because Heiser claims they were divine and fell). Then God (YHWH elohim) was not the only deity.

He goes on to say ‘ An unmistakable linguistic parallel with the Hebrew text underlying the Septuagint reading was thus discovered, one that prompted many scholars to accept the Septuagintal reading on logical and philological grounds—God (El Elyon in Deut. 32:8) divided the earth according to the number of heavenly beings who existed from before the time of creation .” (Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God; p. 54 BiBLiOTHECA SACRA / January-March 2001)

Heiser is among them, except he rejects their being angels but as heavenly being they are a separate species, sons of God. Heiser claims there were only 70, not hundreds like the book of Enoch supposedly says.

Hesier’s Genesis myth has several falls from sinlessness of these pre creation God creatures (elohim). They were made by Elohim, ‘the God’. Gn. 3 the serpent who is one of the council falls; in Gn.6 the sons of God fall, Gn. 10 the 70 sons of god are appointed over the nations and they fall (or were fallen, Heiser has both). As we will see these numbers are not possible according to his own presentation.

How to interpret Deut. 32:8 becomes a shell game of words by Heiser who does not read it in context, he leads the reader into a semantical wilderness that has one wander around like Israel did going toward the Promised Land.

Before we look into the Septuagint’s reading[s], the doctrine of other gods before creation needs to be addressed. There was only God that existed, the everlasting God, not creatures who are gods; this is mythmaking (see pt.4 on the Elohim); end of the matter.

Heiser writes, “The nations were supposed to “seek God” (Acts 17:27), something of course they rarely did, instead worshipping the elohim assigned to them (who apparently in turn did not rule the nations according to Yahweh’s justice (Psa 82:2-4).” (chapter 15 more Unseen Realm, Divine Allotment Cosmic Geography) Here is attests they were not fallen when appointed.

If these Elohim are true gods why would it be wrong to worship them? According to Heiser they were to rule justly, they were true gods in Gods image; his council, that is until they fell. And how can this be said if God purposely gave the nations over to these elohim who are fallen? God would not reveal himself to the nations because he assigned them to these other gods? What does not make sense is that after the Gn.6 rebellion of the sons of God, God judge the world completely with a flood. Why would he appoint these same fallen sons of God over the nations shortly after? The Tower of Babel rebellion took place was only 150 years after the flood.

What does the Septuagint (and other manuscripts) say?

The “sons of God” in the Genesis account is a phrase that occurs five times in the Old Testament. Each time it refers to angels (when contextually compared, it is the majority view). (Gen. 6:1-4, Job 1:6, Job 2:1, Job 38:7, Daniel 3:28) The Septuagint translates it as “angels of God.”

Jewish historian Flavius Josephus assumes that the nephilim were evil giants and the offspring of the union of angels and women. He writes, “…for many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, … for the tradition is that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants [i.e. the demigod Titans].” ( Ant. 1.3.1). “... the bones of these men are still shown to this very day.” (Ant. Book 5 ch. 2). Philo of Alexandria, the first century Jewish philosopher, held the same opinion (Allegorical Interpretation, “On the Giants,” chap. IV.16; XIII.32).

The Book of Enoch states “It happened after the sons of men had multiplied in those days, that daughters were born to them, elegant and beautiful. And when the angels, the sons of heaven, beheld them, they became enamoured of them, saying to each other, Come, let us select for ourselves wives from the progeny of men”

Enoch 106:13-17... “ since my father Jared's day, the fallen angels have been sinning. They sin and are promiscuous with women. They have begotten children. Because of this, there will be great destruction on the earth, a flood shall come, and its waters remain for a year. This child you speak of, and his three sons will be saved. The earth shall be cleansed of the giants born to the fallen angels.”

Referring to the sons of God “ … Jared, for in his days the angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named the Watchers, that they should instruct the children of men, and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth .” (Jubilees 4:15)

In the only 2 places in the New Testament we read that angels (not sons of God, a separate species) left their place and committed these acts (2 Peter 2:4-5, Jude 6-7)

And by the way, 1 Enoch, they were “ great giants, whose height was three hundred cubits.” A cubit being 18 inches would make them 450 feet tall! (Heiser who wrote on Enoch instead says these giants were 6'6 - to 7.0 ft?)

The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: “ he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God (referring to an angelic heavenly assembly). Heiser, says the variant “angels of God” is the predominant reading of the LXX. Which creates problems for Heiser’s argument of them being a separate group of sons of God. The LXX does not differentiate the sons of God from the angels, but actually identifies these sons AS the angels.

But this is not acceptable by him because that would ruin his theory, besides it makes angels the rulers of nations (this IS something we get a glimpse of in Daniel, as angels battle to influence nations, Also the sons of are with satan who accompanies them in heaven before the Lord).

What Mr. Heiser actually did is chose the few obscure texts in the Septuagint versions in preference to the Masoretic text of today and the majority of texts which the LXX was copied from. Only 2 of the 33 Dead Sea Scrolls copies of Deuteronomy manuscripts have what Heiser says (we will examine this in detail as go deeper into the evidence) .

Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out in his Genesis commentary, “The term sons of God has the meaning to be created by God. The exception is the uniqueness of the only begotten Son of God; the word “only” emphasizes His uniqueness in that He was always in existence and not created. The ancients viewed this term to mean “angels”; and the oldest Jewish view of this verse, and those living closest to the time when these things were written, took sons of God to be angels, not humans. For example, the Septuagint, dated from about 250 B.C., translates this verse as angels of God. Josephus32 understood this as angels, and so do the Book of Enoch and the

Dead Sea Scrolls documents of Qumran.33 Furthermore, in the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, 6:1, 6:2, and 6:4 also make these angels. Also seven books in the Pseudopigrapha interpret this as a reference to angels (I Enoch 6:1-2; Jubilees 4:15, 5:6; II Enoch 18; II Baruch 56; and The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs [Reuben 5:5-6 and Naphtali 3:3-5]). Philo and the Midrashim34 also adhere to this view.’

Heiser goes to Genesis 6 (pp. 93-109) claiming that “sons of God” in the text are divine creatures (his definition) who defected and cohabited with human women, producing the Nephilim or giants of Scripture and legend” (Unseen Realm pp. 105-109).

But according to him they were not that tall, (Like Enoch writes) they were ‘little giants.’(we will look at this in detail later when focused on the Nephilim)

The number 70

In his work, ‘Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God’ He writes the “ Ugarit, however, have provided a more coherent explanation for the number seventy in Deuteronomy 32:8 and have furnished support for textual scholars who argue against the “sons of Israel” reading. Ugaritic mythology plainly states that the head of its pantheon, El (who, like the God of the B ible, is also referred to as El Elyon, the “Most High”) fathered seventy sons, 10 thereby specifying the number of the “sons of El” (Ugaritic, bn il) (this is a reference from Manfried Dietrich, Oswald Loretz, and Joaquin Sanmartín, eds., The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani and Other Places, KTU, 2d ed. (Munster: Ugarit, 1995), 18. The reading in the article is from KTU 1.4:VI.46. (Hesier, Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God) .

Again there is not 70 mentioned in Deut.32, it is assumed by how he counts the nations as he inserts his interpretation to build his theoretical construct.

But what is worse is to say God fathered 70 sons? How? You won’t find this in the Bible but in the Canaanite mythology, the Ugarit, which Heiser profusely uses and adopts to the Scripture. EL is said to have had 70 god-sons together with Asherah, His goddess, that’s how. But this cannot fit into Heiser’s theory because he claims God created these gods before anything else was created. Is that more coherent than what the Scripture says? No it is not!

Heiser further explains, “7. It is interesting to note that the number of the nations listed in Gen 10 is seventy (see Nahum M. Sarna, Genesis [JPS Torah Commentary; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989], 69). This is precisely the number of the sons of El in the divine council at Ugarit.” (Heiser, Chapter 14: Divine Allotment, Unseen Realm)

Precisely the number: So then there were 70 in the council, not more than 70 elohim. This is extremely importatn. It means when they fell and assigned to the 70 nations there were no more Elohim according to his own sources that he uses outside the Scripture. But there are far more than 70 nations today' there are over 190. Who are these sons of god who rule now? He claims they do rule as the battle continues. This is a new myth Heiser has made, from the Ugarit to change the Bible. This interpretation and conclusion is like Noah’s ark made of swiss cheese, its filled with holes and sinks.

Besides all this, how does one use a myth of God fathering 70 sons with a wife God? Mormons must be happy with his explanation.

However, he writes contradicting himself, “As noted earlier, at Ugarit there were seventy sons of El {KTU 1.4:VL46). The sons of God are referred to here as “fallen” in light of Genesis 6 as well as Deuteronomy 4:19. (Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God p.71)

Over and over he explains “The Nations Given Up to the Fallen Divine Beings,” he assigned each of the 70 nations to the fallen sons of God (who were also 70 in number).” (Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God p.71)

So they were fallen when God assigned the nations to them. Think about what he is saying. God judged the world from their interference. We see this in Gn. 6:1-3 we read as men began to multiply on the face of the earth the sons of God saw the daughters of men, and they took wives for themselves. In v.3 God gave man one hundred and twenty years. In v.7-9 God pronounces I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, only Noah was spared, For Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations, he alone was untouched by their influence. V.11-12 The earth also was corrupt, filled with violence at this time.

Heiser further reinforces his Ugarit teaching to the Bible by stating “The traditional Hebrew (Masoretic) text has the number of nations as seventy. Consequently, either number points to a correlation back to the nations divided at Babel and the cosmic-geographical worldview of Deut 32:8–9. The number seventy of the traditional Hebrew text is best on external grounds, given the witness to seventy “sons of El” in the divine council at Ugarit.” (Unseen Realm)

Does this mean there were originally 71, because the Serpent who was in Eden was one of the council (sons of God) and he fell before the others, which then made  the number 70. If there were always 70 then the number becomes 69 after the Serpent fell. And what of Satan mentioned in Job who is also part of this council? Where did he come from if there were only 70 and they all fell? Heiser says this satan was obeying God? None of this makes sense, as all of these become separate instances that do not coincide. The Bible has no numbers applied to other elohim, this whole teaching of other elohim (gods) originates from Heiser’s imagination via the liberal academics he learned and employs that use the Ugarit to interpret the Bible. So it becomes all inside out, the Bible gives witness to the Ugarit! This is shameful hermeneutics, terrible exegesis, it all amounts to FALSE TEACHING.

70 divine sons of God are supposedly left after the Gn.6 rebellion of which he sends a flood to judge what took place, He inserts these into his false premise of sons of God ruling the nations later in Gn.10 after the Tower of Babel. It becomes difficult to accept that God punished the world from the Gn.6 rebellion and then appoints these same fallen beings to rule over the nations 150 years later and holds mankind accountable for not worshiping him but instead them? None of this fits into the Bible record or the nature of Gods character but it does make for a good fantasy story like the former myths.

The Nations

But whole nations were never intended to seek God for there was only one nation God formed from one man, Abram that would become Israel and made a theocracy.

There were individuals that knew God in this time in history, Job and his friends are one example. Job uses God’s personal name (not Elohim) in his dialogues once during his speeches (Job 12:9), and one other time that is significant in the whole book (three times in Job 1:21).

In Rom. 1:24-25 “ Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen”

It is important to understand how Heiser coincides these verses, for Heiser holds the position that God who made these Elohim (creatures gods) appoints them to be over the nations (70 gods for 70 nations), when the Scripture is actually saying God let the nations go their own way and they chose to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. Which is themselves, men as gods, nature as gods.

How do we know this is what happened? In Acts 14:16 “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.” They had a choice they made the choice on their own, there was no council of gods influencing or ruling them.

The “disinheriting of the nations” that Heiser describes as a major theological event isn’t described in Genesis 10-11, nor is it described in Deuteronomy 32:8-9. Heiser interprets the ‘dividing of the nations’ to be when God divided up the nations he did in relation to the number of divine council members (sons of God). The nations became their inheritance, while taking Israel later as his own inheritance. But the context has to do with the geographical boundaries of the nations in relation to Israel's numbers. What would national boundaries have to do with God giving dominion of the nations to divine council members? The context is about Israel.

The Question is, were there 70 nations when it was divided?

“The result of adding up the table is this: Names listed for Japheth: 14; names listed for Ham: 30; names listed for Shem: 26, making a grand total of 70, which some see as comparable to the 70 Israelites who go down to Egypt in Genesis 46:27. Not all the names listed are descendants. Some are tribes; some even are lands or cities.” (The Table of Nations After the Flood Herb Hirt Israel My Glory magazine)

“They were divided by their families, which would include tribal divisions; and this points to the development of a society. Third: They were divided in their nations, referring to national divisions. Genesis 10:5 describes a total of fourteen nations, and the time span given here is two generations .” (Ariel Genesis commentary)

Sons of God or children of Israel?

Why should we accept the minority LXX “sons of God” to be divine beings under the greater elohim, when the Scripture explains Israel as the ‘sons of God,’ and has nothing to say about other elohim from heaven.

Heiser states, “Adam was Yahweh’s son. Israel was Yahweh’s son.” He admits the phrase “sons of God” is used for a humans, and for Israel. Why then does he translate Deut.32:8 denying this, BECAUSE IT AFFECTS HIS WHOLE THEORY!

Israel is frequently called God's son (Exodus 4:22-23; Deuteronomy 14:1; 32:5; Isaiah 1:2, 4; 30:1, 9; Jeremiah 3:13, 22; 4:22; 31:20) Hosea 1:10 to Israel it is said 'You are sons of the living God.' Hosea 11:1 “ When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son .” This is later applied to THE Son of God (Matt. 16:16 Christ, the Son of the living God) as a representative for the nation, as he also represented all that came from Adam.

Heiser, prefers the LXX reading of `sons of God` rather than the Masoretic text reading `sons (children) of Israel.' But this makes no difference to the meaning of the verse. For in this chapter Israel is synonymous with the sons (or children) of God, vv. 5-6, 18-20. Israel are the sons of God that Deut. 32 is referring to. This terminology is used in various ways for Israel:

Ex. 4:22 to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.” Ezek. 34:30 the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.' “1 Sam. 2:29 “Israel My people.” Isa 19:25 “ Israel My inheritance” Isa. 41:8 “Israel, are My servant

In Ps. 29:1 Septuagint translation “ Bring to the Lord, ye sons of God, (also translated Mighty ones, gibbor is mighty in Hebrew) bring to the Lord young rams; bring to the Lord glory and honour.” Here we see that sons of God (translated Benei Yahweh) are used for man, this is Israel he is speaking to. The Septuagint says ‘ ye sons of God.’

The implication in relation to Deut.32, which is about Israel. Putting aside ‘angels of god,’ Whether it says ‘children of Israel’ or’ sons of God’ the context is clear, Israel collectively is called Gods sons (and daughters), children. This concept is carried into the New Testament 2 Cor. 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”

Mr. Heiser referring to the dispersal of the nations after Babel and the “sons of God” is a reference to the other divine beings (gods) ruling over the nations. But Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is speaking of the borders of the nations in reference to the sons of God which most Bibles say is Israel, the ‘children of God’. Heiser opts to use the Septuagint, to have you believe God put the other nations under the authority of other “gods,” (Septuagint has “angels of God” or “sons of God”) which he claims are the same gods, the rebellious divine beings of Genesis 6:1-4.

He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel (sons of God.) V.9 “For the LORD's portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.” To define the actual meaning of the verse we must pay careful attention to it, as it says that God portioned the nations to those of HIS inheritance, meaning Israel the people and also the land. Abram was promised both a physical inheritance and a spiritual inheritance.

“God appeared again to Jacob and God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel.” (Gen 35:10)

Gn. 12:1-2 “ To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation” the nation gets the land through Joshua. Gn. 15:7 “ I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” Gn. 15:18 “ the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land.

This what Deut. 32:8 is about, the people and the land, not fallen gods as Heiser misdirects his listeners.

Let me add this as well. The builders of the Tower of Babel wanted a great name for themselves (Gn.11:4), God scatters them and then promises this to Abram.Gn.12. I will bless them that bless you” those who bless Abram will be blessed. This is later expanded to the nation of Israel (Num. 24:9).

 

p.7f The Tower of Babel, the nations and the Nephilim

 

 

Copyright (c) 2022 The material on our website can be copied and used in its original format Portions lifted from articles can be reproduced for ones personal use for witnessing or for teaching and apologetics.  Any other use, such as posting is to have the permission of Let Us Reason ministries. 

If you have trouble printing an article please copy the web page. Highlight the text first - then click copy -  then paste the article into a word program on your computer.

 

We would like to hear from you. Please send us  an e-mail and let us know how we can be of any help.   Our time is just as valuable as yours.  Please keep in mind, that we only have time to answer sincere inquiries. We will use discretion in answering any letters.